I had a mostly delightful vacation last week. I started with a couple of days chillin' at home, which to me is always good. Then I hit the street, and drove to Chicago. Grabbed a hotel out in the burbs, and then hit the “L” to go to the White Sox game. Got myself a great seat, enjoyed some good food (try the Elotes if you're ever at U.S. Cellular Field) and a cold beer or two. Okay, I wasn't counting, which is a nice side benefit of the fine public transportation system there.
I took in two White Sox games that week, and then headed to Mom's house for a couple of days. We did a few chores together, played a lot of Canasta, and enjoyed visiting. Perhaps I'll tell you more about my visit in another blog.
My topic today is actually red light cameras, which are reportedly being installed soon here in Cedar Rapids. I came across one while I was driving from my mom's house to my sister's house. And when I say “came across,” I mean that I'm pretty sure I got snapped by one.
I was on U.S. 41, at the Delany Rd. intersection in Gurnee, in the left turn lane. Traffic on 41 is brisk, to say the least. When I was at the back of the left turn lane, with my derrière hanging out into the normal traffic lane, it was a bit nerve-wracking. With a green light, I entered the intersection, to be ready to turn left when oncoming traffic was clear. Of course, this ended up not happening until the light turned yellow, and I hesitated long enough that I was still in the intersection when the light turned red. A strobe flashed in the darkness.
I'm presuming I was photographed. I may be getting a $250 ticket in the mail, which is what Illinois charges for red light camera violations, if the Internet is to be believed (which is a sketchy supposition at best.) This probably wouldn't bug me so much if Cedar Rapids were not about to get these blasted cameras. Safety my arse. They want to make money, as I discussed in an earlier blog, here.
If the maneuver I made with that left turn (entering intersection while green, completing turn while red) is illegal, then all left turn lights should be “on-arrow-only” in my opinion. There was no option, once I legally entered the intersection on green, to back up. There were people behind me. And if it is then illegal to go forward when it is finally safe to do so, then no option to enter the intersection should be given without an arrow.
Of course, I could be getting all exercised about nothing. Maybe that flash wasn't directed at me, or maybe the kind and merciful soul at whatever private company is contracted to review these things will figure out what was going on with my turn and chuck my photo in the trash. A guy can hope.
I spent much of my last vacation in Illinois, contributing to their bottom line as a state by paying hotel taxes, taxes on baseball tickets, riding their public transportation, paying tolls, etc. I really hope they don't knock me for another $250, or that will severely dent my beer budget for my next trip to the ballgame. It will also cause me to be rear-ended, I'm sure of it, as I will be stomping on my brakes approaching intersections, in order to avoid such a penalty in the future. Drivers behind me, beware.